Sunday, April 7, 2013

TING AND I, In Gratitude to Our Doctors

We are especially grateful to the doctors who have made possible Tina’s continued survival and well-being in the seven years since February 2004, when she nearly died. Most credit must go to Dr. Richard F. Walker, internist and pulmonologist, whose role is described below. His name comes last, as my ordering is alphabetical, but he has been first among equals in Tina’s care.

Asadolah Baradaran, M.D., neurologist. Dr. Baradaran was seen annually by Tina to follow the progression of her multiple sclerosis, to prescribe what few drugs could be of help in her case, and to advise us as to possible new medicines or treatments. When it became very difficult for her to travel, he was willing to advise us by telephone. He correctly diagnosed my hydrocephalus, recommended the treatment we finally chose, and has monitored my progress. Thanks to Dr. B.!

Peter Chidyllo, D.D.S., dentist. Because Tina’s health would be seriously threatened by another aspiration pneumonia, Dr. Chidyllo modified his usual techniques in her dental care to minimize that risk. He also monitored and advised us on the health of her teeth and gums, to lessen the risk of infection.

Alexander Fruchter, M.D., F.C.C.P., internist and pulmonologist. During a life-threatening episode of respiratory and systemic infection, when Dr. Walker was not available, Dr. Fruchter managed Tina’s care to a successful outcome. He has since then shared the responsibility for Tina’s health with Dr. Walker and Dr. Guneratne.

Franklin Guneratne, M.D., family practitioner. Dr. Guneratne is my personal physician and serves a similar role for Tina, and for my mother, unless the situation requires referral to a specialist. Dr. Guneratne is exceptional in his careful and caring attention to our well-being and his determination to assure our health. Perhaps it is a small thing, but I remember his coming out to our special van in the rain to give Tina her flu shot, to spare her from getting wet. It was characteristic of this gentleman.

Michael G. Kaplitt, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S. Dr. Kaplitt performed the brain-saving operation that gave me a V.P. shunt and a re-awakening of my mental acuity. Without his skilled help, our lives would have been diminished and this book never written.

Sergey Koyfman, O.D. Dr. Koyfman has been responsible for Tina’s tracheostomy during the past few years. He performed the surgery that expanded the opening into which the tracheostomy tube is placed, and four times per year he replaces the used tube with a new one, not a trivial matter. He’s a pleasure to visit, so these sometimes painful excursions are not as feared as they might be.

Richard F. Walker, M.D., F.C.C.P. During Tina’s 100-day struggle against death in the Critical Care Unit, Dr. Walker was the one I relied on most to bring her through. He made sure she was getting what was appropriate. He discussed what was happening and would happen and he took our concerns very seriously, being willing at times to modify his own approach to take into account our needs and wishes. He describes some of this in his insightful Foreword. Over the ensuing seven years, we have seen him two to four times per year, when he would evaluate Tina’s health, check the medicines she was getting, perhaps adding or subtracting or adjusting them. We looked forward to our office visits. Clearly, he cared greatly for Tina and about our efforts to keep her alive. His expertise and his firm commitment to us were crucial to Tina’s survival. Thank you, Dr. Walker. Thank you so much.

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